Further Observations On The Paul Pelosi Attack And Aftermath [Updated]

The ultimate take-away from the madness surrounding the attack on Nancy Pelosi’s husband is this: if Democrats and their media allies are devoting this much spin and energy into making it into an “October surprise,” they have reached peak desperation. To repeat myself from yesterday, who otherwise inclined to vote for a Republican would change his or her vote based on the “The evil, fascist Republicans who want to destroy democracy caused the violent attack by a whack-job on Nancy Pelosi’s husband with their hateful rhetoric and must be stopped by any means necessary” narrative? I can’t believe there is anyone in that category. I can easily believe, however, that some independent on the metaphorical fence might be prompted to conclude, “Wow, these people have lost their friggin’ minds. I don’t want to have anything to do with them.” Or, as King Arthur would say,

And yet they are going with it. Amazing.

Other notes:

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WaPo’s Environment Scold Earns a “Jacques Brel” For Halloween!

As the Ethics Alarms glossary explains, the Jacques Brel is a special Ethics Alarms award bestowed on those who evoke the late, great French troubadour’s observation, “If you leave it up to them, they’ll crochet the world the color of goose shit.” Seldom have I encountered a more deserving recipient than Washington Post environment reporter Allyson Chiu, who was allowed by apparently standard-less editors to inflict on the world her essay, “How you can make more socially conscious Halloween candy choices.”

To be fair, it isn’t quite as obnoxious and deranged as the article I encountered a while back that instructed climate change phobics to carefully divide the plies in each roll of toilet paper to double the utility of each roll (and save trees, see), but its headline is funnier. What has to happen to someone—indoctrination, a bad experience at Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory—to think like this?

Here are what some of Allyson’s fellow travelers tell her to relay to readers:

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Ethics Dunce (At Least): ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith

I had become thoroughly sick of ESPN’s race-obsessed loud-mouth Stephen A. Smith long before I stopped watching the channel. Eventually I even eliminated it from our satellite package: ESPN, like everything Disney touches lately (except the Beatles), is unwatchable, and Smith is Exhibit A. His latest bit of gratuitous race-baiting would get him canned from any respectable network, but then there are no respectable networks. Naturally, he had to endorse Houston manager Dusty Baker’s biased and brain-dead assertion that Major League Baseball had some kind of vendetta against or racist avoidance of American-born black players (because foreign-born black players aren’t really black, or something). Just ponder this :

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Sunday Ethics Reflections, 10/30/2022: What’s Going On Here?

I have no idea if the various scandalous theories about the Paul Pelosi beating have any truth in them, but I will say this: the Democrats and members of the media that immediately leaped to the Gabby Giffords replay that Republican rhetoric seeded the attack richly deserve to be humiliated, which they will be if the incident turns out to be a gay hook-up gone wrong. The Axis immediately defaulted to exploiting the incident before they had the facts—if they are settled, I haven’t seen them— and now there at least appears to be some chance that the whole thing was misrepresented. The key takeaways ethically are 1) leaping to use the attack as a political weapon was indefensible and 2) if we had ethical journalists, reporters from major outlets would be digging to find the facts. Right now, it is only the fringes of the conservative media and blogosphere that even appears curious. Why did Paul Pelosi refer to his attacker as “a friend”? Why wasn’t there evidence of a break-in? Is there security footage, and what does it show? Glenn Greenwald tweeted, “Many journalists see the glaring questions and evidentiary holes in the Paul Pelosi narrative. But they also know how important that narrative is to Dems right before the mid-terms. So why stick their heads up, provoke a liberal Twitter mob, and be branded? That’s the climate.”

Well, it’s an unethical climate.

1. How hard should we be on Eric Burton? The Texas native and the founding member of The Black Pumas took the field at Minute Maid Park to start off Game #1 of the World Series with his rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and botched the lyrics. This has happened to many more prominent singers before, most famously Robert Goulet, in a performance he was mocked for until the end of his career. Having botched lyrics I know cold in a public performance myself (more than once, in fact), I am inclined to be kind and forgiving, but his rendition was also pitchy, and just didn’t sound very good. To my ear, it seemed that he was more interested in showing off his voice and riffs than actually doing the song justice, and that song deserves respect.

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Baseball Ethics: Dusty’s Lament [Corrected]

Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker, who absent an epic upset by the inferior Phillies is about to cap off his long and illustrious baseball career with a World Series championship, blundered into a rare (for him) and foolish outburst sparked by the news that there are no “American-born black players” competing in the World Series. You see, there are black players, a lot of them, on the Astros and Phillies, and many of them are American citizens, but they were born south of that almost non-existent U.S. border, so I guess they don’t count. So Dusty dusted off his racial resentment, and announced in response to being informed about this carefully layered statistic, “Nah, don’t tell me that. That’s terrible for the state of the game. Wow! Terrible. “Quote me. I am ashamed of the game.”

And I’m ashamed of you, Dusty. That’s an ignorant and unfair comment. It’s not as if baseball wouldn’t sign a trained squid to a mega-million dollar contract if he hit like Aaron Judge, the assumed American League Most Valuable Player this season. (Incidentally, Judge is biracial, and would be counted as black if he decided to “identify” as such.) Is Dusty ashamed of Judge? There are many reasons the percentage of black players has fallen in recent decades. The 2022 percentage of African-Americans was about 7%, or half the proportion in the population generally. The main reason for this is not any racial discrimination by baseball, but because of the choices made by black athletes and social forces affecting them.

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Update: The Axis Of Unethical Conduct’s 2022 Mid-Term Elections Freak-Out

I’d like to know who was the genius that suggested “The evil, fascist Republicans who want to destroy democracy caused the violent attack by a whack-job on Nancy Pelosi’s husband with their hateful rhetoric must be stopped by any means necessary” would be a smart and persuasive argument to turn the Red Tide and pull off an upset on November 8. Then I’d like to have those among the “resistance,” Democrats, and mainstream media—that’s the Ethics Alarms Axis of Unethical Conduct—- who reacted with, “Hey! That’s brilliant!” explain their reasoning before checking themselves into a hospital, because they’re the ones who are acting like they have been hit in the skull with a hammer.

Can they really not detect the obvious hypocrisy and self-contradictory reasoning of this strategy? Apparently not. Yet it was Democratic Senate Majority Leader who pointed the way to an eventual assassination attempt on Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh by shouting, “I want to tell you, Justice Kavanaugh and Justice Gorsuch, you have unleashed a whirlwind, and you will pay the price.You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions!” Then just this month, Nancy Pelosi told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell that she would have attacked President Trump on January 6, 2021 if he had come to the Capitol “I would have punched him out. I said I would have punched him out. I would have gone to jail. And I would have been happy to do so.”

Because Republicans, and especially Trump, are evil and dangerous, you see. And they engage in hateful rhetoric that incites their supporters (of which Paul Pelosi’s attacker was not one by all indications) to take violent action! As Olsen Johnson so wisely observed,

Here are some recent examples of the commentary arising from that parallel universe:

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Saturday Night Feverish Ethics: Desperation, A Freak Show, Trolling Musk, Miss Universe Goes Trans, And More

Wow. The news media and Democrats are really going all in in trying to use a sick maniac’s attack on Nancy Pelosi’s husband as a campaign issue. Again, desperate, and as usual, stupid. The theory is that this can be a tipping point, except that it will take more than the usual mainstream media selective obfuscation of facts to make it even fly as high or as far as the Spruce Goose. Pelosi’s attacker was and is a long-time wacko. There is as much in his rants and beliefs to link him to either side of the political spectrum. The Left has had an absurd amount of success blowing up single incidents into generalizations (See: Trayvon Martin; George Floyd; the Capitol riot) but this is lame. Naturally we’re getting the “prove you don’t approve by condemning it!” tactic aimed at Republicans, a trick that somehow never is dusted off and employed when Republican, conservatives or their family members are attacked. I’m not surprised that Trump hasn’t issued some pro forma expression of sympathy or condemnation. He should, of course, but Nancy Pelosi has treated him with more disrespect than any House Speaker ever treated a President, and graciousness is not in his vocabulary. I just hope he avoids saying, “Good!”

The current narrative that Republicans have used hateful rhetoric against Democrats while Democrats have not equaled or surpassed them in pure viciousness is so transparently a lie that even Democrats can’t believe it. The President called Republicans fascists and a clear and present danger to democracy just a month ago! Never mind, though: they have nothing better now. Any voter who is going to hear and read this garbage and think, “Gee, I better vote for Democrats because a mentally-ill Canadian attacked the husband of the Speaker of the House with a hammer” is so incompetent that his or her votes could probably be bought by a promise of Twizzlers. Friends of the party and its media propagandists would be kind to whisper, “Just stop. You’re embarrassing yourselves.”

1. What should one make of this? Trans comedian Jordan Gray, on the UK comedy show “Friday Night Live,” ripped off his clothing, and, naked, began to play his keyboard with his erect penis while singing his song “Better Than You.” It’s lyrics included, “I’m a perfect woman, my tits will never shrink. I’m guaranteed to squirt, and I do anal by default … I am the lizard king, and I can do anything that any other woman can’t … I used to be a man, now I’m better than you.” We are told that the audience was delighted, but the misogynist lyrics have feminists up in arms.

Two words: Freak show. That’s all: this is in the same category as Joseph Pujol, better known by his stage name Le Pétomane, who entertained vaudeville audiences by farting out melodies. If trans individual wanted to be regarded as better than circus acts, freaks of nature and exhibitionists, they need to avoid behaving like this. It seriously undercuts their claims of being normal, respectable members of society. [Pointer: Mrs. Q]

In a related category is this jaw-dropping video, which was released on Disney Plus last year but is only being widely discussed now:

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Paging The ACLU! But Will They Answer?

Another integrity test for the biased and rotting American Civil Liberties Union. According to their long-standing mission, coming to the defense of two students being prosecuted for saying bad word would be automatic. So far, though, not a peep. Will the ACLU stand up for the Bill of Rights when the breach is so clear?

I’m not holding my breath.

In Houma, Louisiana, Two high school students have been arrested and accused of hate crimes after video circulated on social media of them using the term “nigger” on the high school grounds. Their words were not directed at any individual, yet they face charges of inciting a riot, hate crimes, and cyberbullying.

You can’t do this, you know. The government can’t punish anyone criminally for mere words, and it doesn’t matter what they are. OK, you have my obligatory agreement that “nigger” is a haeful epithet (when used as an epithet) and it’s use cannot be condoned and shouldn’t be encouraged or ignored, yadayada, but if that’s the reason almost nobody is pointing out the more essential truth that the Constitution protects us from sanctions by the government for ugly, mean, hateful or controversial speech, a lttle emedial instruction on core civil liberties is greatly neededd.

Yoooo Hooo! ACLU-hooo! Where the hell are you-hoo?

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Unethical (And Ominous) Quote Of The Month: 600 “Members Of The Writing, Publishing, And Broader Literary Community”[Link Fixed]

“As members of the writing, publishing, and broader literary community of the United States, we care deeply about freedom of speech. We also believe it is imperative that publishers uphold their dedication to freedom of speech with a duty of care. We recognize that harm is done to a democracy not only in the form of censorship, but also in the form of assault on inalienable human rights. As such, we are calling on Penguin Random House to recognize its own history and corporate responsibility commitments by reevaluating its decision to move forward with publishing Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s forthcoming book….”

—Signatories (600 and rising) from the world of publishing in an open letter titled “We Dissent,” demanding that Penguin Random House refuse to publish a book by Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett.

Here is the whole, head-exploding, censorious thing, an “it isn’t what it is” (Yoo’s Rationalization again!) classic that could have been composed by the lackeys of “1984’s” Big Brother: Continue reading

Modern Art Ethics: Amusing Evidence That Abstract Art Is The Con Game You Always Thought It Was

“New York City I,” a painting by acclaimed Dutch abstract artist Piet Mondrian that is composed of interlacing red, yellow, black and blue adhesive tapes, has been hanging upside down in various museums since it was first put on display in 1941. The painting was first exhibited at New York’s MoMA in 1945, and has hung at the art collection of the German federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia in Düsseldorf since 1980. An art historian has found, embarrassingly enough, that it has been displayed wrong all this time. but warned it could disintegrate if it was hung the right side up now.

When curator Susanne Meyer-Büser started researching the museum’s new show on the Dutch avant garde artist earlier this year, she realized the work was intended to be turned 180 degrees. Since it is supposed to suggest the New York City skyline, she explained, ““the thickening of the grid should be at the top, like a dark sky. Once I pointed it out to the other curators, we realized it was very obvious. I am 100% certain the picture is the wrong way around.”

Very obvious! Just not obvious enough, apparently, for any of the experts in the field to realize that a “masterpiece” wasn’t what they thought it was.

I’m curious: would the experts have been able to figure out that this painting….

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